Florence Panorama Italy about 1892.jpg

PANORAMA OF FLORENCE, ITALY — To one who visits the Old World with a keen appreciation of its History, Biography and Art, perhaps no European city proves more attractive than that which greets us here, in beauty, where — “On the bright enchanting plain, Fair Florence ’neath the sunshine lies, And towering high o’er roof and fane, Her Duomo soars into the skies!” “What a priceless debt of gratitude we owe to this fair Tuscan Athens! A debt so vast that we are quite unable to express its magnitude. After the appalling gloom of the Dark Ages, which, on the downfall of Imperial Rome, folded entire Europe in its shroud, the first pale streaks of light, announcing the approaching dawn of a new age, appeared above these walls of Florence! ‘Tis true, the glory which succeeded that bright dawn did not last long. Its splendor scarce outlived two centuries. But in that time Italian art and literature reached their zenith, and Florence ever since has been a treasure-house for those who prize inspiring memories and forms which live again on canvas or in marble. What wonder, then, that this fair city of the Renaissance, girt by its amphitheatre of vine-clad hills, cleft by the current of the smiling Arno, and guarded by the Tuscan Appenines, is not alone a beacon-light in the world’s history, but one of the most enchanting spots upon the surface of our globe! (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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